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Rights Groups Call for Probe into Navalny’s Death; Russian Police Arrest Hundreds of Mourners

HeadlineFeb 19, 2024

More than 400 people have been detained in Russia for publicly mourning the death of Alexei Navalny, who died in an Arctic penal colony on Friday at the age of 47. Navalny was Russia’s most prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin. He was serving a 19-year sentence at the time of his death, which President Biden and several other Western leaders directly blamed on Putin. Navalny’s mother, who traveled to the Arctic town of Kharp, was denied access to her son’s body and was told by prison authorities Navalny died of “sudden death syndrome.” Kira Yarmysh, a spokesperson for Navalny, spoke on Saturday.

Kira Yarmysh: “Alexei was a symbol of hope and a symbol of courage for many Russian people, and now they feel like this idea of hope abandoned them. But that’s not true, and I’m sure that people will find strength to continue their fight, because this is what Alexei always wanted, and this is what he was telling everyone all the time, even from the prison.”

Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard called for an international probe into Navalny’s death.

Agnès Callamard: “Look, the international community needs to react with the strongest way possible. But we know that actions have very little impact right now on Putin and on Russia. But still, silence is not an option. We must stand up, and the international political leaders around the world must make as strong a statement as possible. They must demand investigations. They must, in fact, investigate his unlawful death themselves. We must call on the United Nations to investigate that death, that unlawful death, that killing, in fact.”

We will speak to journalist Masha Gessen about the death of Alexei Navalny later in the program.

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